cover image Saturday Night: A Backstage History of

Saturday Night: A Backstage History of

Caroline B. Cooney. Scholastic, $2.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-40156-2

On the night of the Autumn Leaves Dance, five girls have different hopes or worries: Beth Rose wants, just once, to be beautiful; Anne, gorgeous and popular, is afraid her boyfriend will leave her when he finds out she's pregnant; Emily, who's never had a boy like her but has invited one to the dance, wants to be loved; Molly, a ravishing flirt who snares a Harvard man, decides to steal the spotlight; Kip, who planned the entire dance, just wants to attend, even if it means going with dull Roddy. A thunderstorm complicates mattersEmily and her date save the victim of a car accident and don't get to the dance until much later; Anne loses her boyfriend but finds lovewhen he comes back to her; schemer Molly has an awful night with her drunk college man; Beth Rose and Kip both get a glimpse of their own happy endings, or beginnings, with romance. Cooney weaves all these plots in, out and around one another with a skilled hand. Not relying on stereotype, she sharply delineates each character, giving all of them enough pain and anguish to make their situations believable, with just enough froth and fun. (12-up)